Pope Francis opts for an everyman popemobile

September 20, 2015, 8:49 PM UTC
Pope Francis waves to the faithful from a popemobile in El Quinche
Pope Francis waves to the faithful from a popemobile in El Quinche, Ecuador, July 8, 2015. Pope Francis on Tuesday said protecting the planet was no longer a choice but a duty and called for a new "social justice" where access to the earth's resources would be based on equality instead of economic interests. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja - RTX1JLFE
Photograph by Guillermo Granja — Reuters

Pope Francis will ride among adoring crowds during his U.S. tour this week in a modified Jeep Wrangler, according to CNN reports, bolstering his image as a pious everyman.

Fiat Chrysler, the Italian-American automaker that owns Jeep, has not revealed any details about the car, known as the popemobile. It’s expected to be similar to the white Jeep he rode in during a July visit to Ecuador that featured a glass roof over the rear bed — presumably to keep him dry while waving to the throngs lining the streets — and open sides.

Previous Popes have opted for luxury brand vehicles like Mercedes-Benz. But Pope Francis rejects materialism, and the Daily Mail writes that he has previously told ministers to do the same by choosing “more humble” cars.

He has also famously rejected bulletproof vehicles that have been the standard following an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981. According to CNN, he said that a bulletproof car is like a “sardine can” that separates him from the people, adding, “I know that something could happen to me, but it’s in the hands of God.”

The vehicle will be revealed during his visit, which is scheduled to start Tuesday and include stops in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. It will be a coup for Jeep, which can now claim that its is the Pontiff’s car of choice.

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